InfusionSoft – Think twice before sinking your money in this CRM tool

Champion Assistants Technology TeamI’ve seen a number of clients invest in CRM tools that are far more powerful than their businesses require – and more expensive than they can currently afford – because their business advisers have told them that they should invest in technologies now that will support their future business plans.  These business advisers instill the fear  in their clients that their company won’t be prepared in the future when their prospects and clients outweigh the capability for the company to manage them.  I have never witnessed a case where this was the reality.  In reality, the sudden onslaught of clients never comes, and even if it were to, most CRM systems are built so that all current data can be easily migrated with a learning curve for using the technology.

The biggest example I have seen in unfortunate CRM purchases is InfusionSoft.  I have seen InfusionSoft touted by so-called industry experts and gurus (think Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, Ali Brown) who advise info-marketers to invest in this CRM solution now in preparation for future business.  InfusionSoft has a number of drawbacks like not being able to paste text in various modules and difficulties pasting links to name a couple quick irritants.  The biggest thing about InfusionSoft is that it is NOT for info-marketers.  InfusionSoft is for businesses with actual sales teams.  To use InfusionSoft effectively the business needs to be sales-oriented, equipped with a multi-person sales force, have a database with hundreds of thousands of contacts AND have the budget to effectively implement this technology.  The time to migrate data, implement the tool and train a salesforce how to use it – and continue to update it – is extremely time intensive.  This is not the responsibility of a business owner either.  This is the responsiblity of an IT Leader.  While Champion Assistants provides the service of IT Team Lead, we are very careful to only work with clients who have a business that is both financially and mentally prepared for a company-wide CRM rollout.

Sadly, I have seen a number of solo-preneurs buy InfusionSoft on the recommendation of their marketing or sales advisor and start implementing the software only to find that it’s extremely cumbersome to use and their business only requires a fraction of the power of the tool.  InfusionSoft is not for contact management.  It is in fact a full-scale CRM tool.  Also, I have seen that the people referring this software get a handsome referral bonus, and I know there are ulterior motives at play as well.  For instance the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer Inner Circle has made huge amounts of money through their referrals to InfusionSoft.  They make so much money they actually hold presentations on buying InfusionSoft at their SuperConference and InfoSummit conferences!  It’s great business for them, but not necessarily the right decision for all of those people trying to follow the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer methods.

I advise against purchasing any technologies that require your business to grow into.  It’s difficult to predict if the tool will be outdated by the time you need it or if there would have been a better solution based on what your business actually needs at the time. Save yourself time and aggravation and focus on strategic growth instead.

Best,

Heather

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Affiliate Program Basics

Champion Assistant Virtual Business Team

Champion Assistant Virtual Business Team

An affiliate program is one website paying another website to send traffic their way. The referring website will make a commission of the sale, click or lead. Depending on how the company structures their commission will depend how the referrer is paid. Some are structured so that they pay based on a percentage or dollar amount of the sale. Others are paid based on how many people use that affiliate link or are actual leads from that link. It is a way of rewarding that person for referring business to them. This is also considered online marketing.

You are probably wondering how this all works. It is quite simple really. Once someone chooses to be an affiliate, they simply contact the company, get their affiliate button and/or site link to place on their website, and wait for the button to start being used. Of course the more traffic to your website, the more people that might click on that affiliate button.

The best way to find an affiliate program that you might be interested in adding to your website is to either look at websites that you have a genuine interest in or you can look at directories of affiliate programs. One great affiliate directory is Commission Junction. This affiliate directory allows you to link up to many different affiliate programs and Commission Junction does all the work. This way you can be an affiliate of many websites without putting a lot of time and effort into it or clutter up your website with a lot of links and buttons.

Why Use A Shopping Cart?

Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself when considering adding an online shopping cart to your website:

· Do I have products that I am currently selling to my customers or do I want to be selling products online to my customers? If so, what are you using currently for your customers to purchase that product?

· How streamlined is my process for ordering my products online? Do your customers have to wait till you go in and send a follow up e-mail? Does the customer have to jump through hoops to order the product?

· Do I want to spend less time on the ordering process and more time on my business? Do you have the extra time to be spending on the ordering process or could you be spending it on more important tasks and projects?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself. An online shopping cart can help you to streamline the order process and your customer will be more inclined to purchase from you. A shopping cart will also allow you to set an auto responder with any message you want your customers to have. This could be a thank you after a purchase, a note about an upcoming sale, information about the product or how to download a virtual product.

It is also important to remember that we are all very busy in our businesses and any tool that we can use to streamline processes, we should take advantage of. An online shopping cart will help you to be more productive and your customers will be much happier with their buying experience.

Marketing Your Book to the Masses!

You took the time to sit down and write a book. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part – Marketing! If you published your book through a traditional publisher you are already one step ahead of the game, but don’t think you can leave the marketing to your publisher or even an agent. Readers today want a personal touch from writers, they want that connection. So as a writer, how do you make that connection with as many potential readers as possible?

If you want to find your readers, remember who your target audience is and find them. Blog with them, talk with them, connect with them, and advertise with them. Yes, this can take time. The benefits of doing this and truly connecting with your audience are astronomical. For every one person you connect with, they connect with 7 and so on down the line until your book becomes a best seller. (Of course if you’re a self published author this would be a good time to look for a publishing house to help with your newest fulfillment dilemma.)

So how do you reach your target audience? You ask. That is the hard part and most likely the best place for your assistant to take over. You’ll need to do the obvious, write about your book and its contents on your blog, email your current contacts, talk with your friends, colleagues, etc. After that you will actually have to search for your targets. Find writers associations that match your interests and your writings, find blogs that target your target audience, advertise where your market looks, get the word out and keep at it. Your momentum will drive sales, just as your ideas became the book.

If you think of the old adage “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” you will see the truth of it. Talking with other authors, even those who have books similar to your own, will give you a glimpse of where they are marketing and how. So they won’t come right out and say xyz blog gives me the highest sales. Neither would you. They will let on about whom their target market is, how they found them, how the stay connected with them.

Another group not to be missed is book clubs. These groups are full of people who read and moreover they love to read. Book clubs are always hungry for new books and the best part…they talk about those books. They talk with each other, they talk with their family, they talk to colleagues and friends, and well everyone they can find.

You can find out more tips on book marketing as well as defined marketing strategies in the 2008 SuperConference Notes. They are an invaluable resource!

Contact Champion Assistants when you decide it’s time to get help building your list and gaining more exposure for your business. Call (425)821-2936 or email info@championassistants.com.

What RSS Can Do For You!

RSS jumped into the market a few years ago, but didn’t really take off until just recently with the release of RSS 2.0 and more recently RSS 2.01. To give you the basics, RSS is a script that is added to many websites, ezines, and other online materials that gives specific information about that material to RSS Readers around the world.

RSS Readers are like newspapers in a sense, as they pool articles and interesting tidbits on many different topics into one location. Basically, an RSS reader will broadcast the information given in the RSS script on any website, article, etc that ranks high on search engine keyword lists. The benefit of using RSS script is that when something of yours does come across a reader, the world sees it.

RSS readers work like free PR in a sense as it doesn’t cost anything to add the RSS script to your online materials. Techie novices beware, RSS script is complex and will likely require a website specialist to add it to your online materials.

Champion Assistants is ready to help you with your RSS project. Please contact us today to find out what we can do for you. Call 425-821-2936 or e-mail info@championassistants.com.

5 FREE Ways to Increase Market Presence!

The majority of business owners are constantly on the lookout for new, inexpensive, and effective ways to increase their market presence. It’s a rare thing to have too much business! So for those of you who are wondering how to increase your market presence for free, here is a short list for you to consider.

1. Blogging – Most blog sites are free. You can post articles, letters, pictures or just about anything and people will read it. If you find a blog site that offers tags and keywords for each of your postings you are one up on your competition as this will make each and every post a searchable item in most search engines, thereby increasing your reader base and potential customer base.

2. Newsletters – You already have a customer base, so why not use them to expand? Send out a newsletter that contains not only your company information, but also relevant industry information.

3. RSS Scripting – This code can be added to any online material for free (if you know how to write the code properly) and instantly makes that material available to RSS Readers around the world.

4. Article Submitting – Believe it or not an article is more than the sum of its words. When done properly, onlne articles can increase traffic to your website and in turn increase sales without costing you a dime.

5. Social Networking – By talking with other business owners and entrepeneurs you make your company more visible to the world. Imagine an upside down pyramid for moment. If you are at the bottom and everyone you talk with is right above you than everyone they know is above them and so forth. Before you know it your name is everywhere and business never looked so good!

Take your time and figure out whats going to work best for you. There are a zillion ways to increase market presence – which one will you choose?

What Do You Charge?

Deciding what to charge clients is a complex process based on factors including cost of goods or services, overhead and business expenses. Lately there is a lot of talk about charging a client what you think you’re worth, which seems vague and possibly self-defeating. What you charge should probably take into account your value to them!

In addition to the above factors, the price you charge depends on the following:

  • Who you attract. Price according to your target clients. If you market to upscale clientele your prices should reflect that.
  • Effective sales process. Define the sales process and make sure it works smoothly every time. Many of us have left a business frustrated by not being able to make a purchase simply because of the inability of the salesperson to take an order, ring it up and deliver. It may seem simple, but make sure your sales process is clear and functional.
  • Persuasive sales language. Using persuasive sales language creates images in prospects’ minds of what they can have by choosing you. A positive image will result in them choosing you and willingness to pay more for what they expect.
  • Congruency of the movie in their mind. Some prospects have a mental image of what their experience with you will be like before they even meet you. Living up to this expectation underscores your value.
  • Be honest about what you can or can’t do. People will pay more for honesty and accurate results.

I would welcome your thoughts and insights on this topic! What factors influence your pricing strategy?

Kind regards,

Heather